Wildflower Watch II – Regarding Wild Geraniums

If the first rule of looking for insects is “check the flowers,” then wild geraniums(Geranium maculatum) are the flower to watch right now. Insects perceive UV light differently than we do, and the transparent veins that lead them across the petals to the payload at the center of the flower (they’re called “nectar guides”) are far more conspicuous to them.

The 13 Bugs of Christmas

“The Twelve Days of Christmas” is an English carol that was probably borrowed from the French and that was originally an acapella chant/call-and-response/children’s memory game. It first appeared in writing in 1780, and there were (and still are) many variations of it, though the words were more-or-less standardized when an official melody was finally written for it in 1909.

Wildflower Watch – Dawdling among Dandelions

Dandelions produce both nectar and pollen and so are appreciated by wildlife, especially early bees and butterflies (100 species of pollinators have been tallied). The BugLady has been dawdling among dandelions to see who else appreciates them. She saw representatives of 8 kinds of hymenopterans (ants/bees/wasps), 4 kinds of flies, 3 of arachnids (spiders and spider relatives), and 1 beetle. Seen, but not photographed, were a few cabbage butterflies.

Twelve Bugs of Christmas

The fourth Annual chorus of “The Twelve Bugs of Christmas,” the BugLady offers a Bakers’ Dozen of Bug Portraits that were taken this year but are unlikely to appear in future BOTWs because their stories have been told in past BOTWs (hence, the links, for BugFans who want to know “The Rest of the Story”).

Midsummer Report

The BugLady would like to dedicate this episode to the late (great) Cornell Professor Richard B. Fischer (January 19, 1919 – August 7, 2005) who taught the BugLady how to sneak up on insects (no bobbing or weaving, just slow and steady and straight ahead.

Spotted Nomad Bee (Family Apidae)

The Spotted Nomad Bee belongs to an overlapping continuum of species named the Nomada ruficornis species group. The Nomada (nomad/roaming bees), one of the largest genera in the Nomadinae subfamily, are a confusing bunch taxonomically. There are about 300 species in North America and 700 species worldwide.

Celebrating Bumblebees (Family Apidae)

As a group, Bumblebees are northern bees, tough enough to survive north of the Arctic Circle. They can thermoregulate;—producing heat by “shivering” their flight muscles without beating their wings, and retaining it via their thick, insulating hairs. They need an internal temperature of 86 degrees before they can fly.

Recent Bug Adventures

The BugLady has been out with her camera, walking non-aerobically and peering into plants. The “peering” has resulted in some interesting (if blurred) sightings (her macro lens is getting a bit cranky). Amazing things have been happening on milkweed, probably spurred by a banner crop of aphids on the leaves.

Sphecodes Sweat Bee (Family Halictidae)

Sphecodes bees are parasitic solitary bees in the large, but mostly-not-parasitic. Sphecodes bees are sometimes called cuckoo bees. Cuckoo bees are kleptoparasites (which may also be spelled with a “c”). Like their avian namesakes, they deposit their eggs in someone else’s nest—in the case of CBs, in the nests of fellow-Halictids.

The 12 Bugs of Christmas

In lieu of the usual bug biography, the BugLady presents The Twelve Bugs of Christmas—a tribute to a dozen insects (a Baker’s Dozen, really) that were photographed this year but not featured in a BOTW. Let the singing commence.